TUBA, Benguet –Awarded with the “Highest Honors,” he was adjudged as the best in English, Science and Technology, and three other subjects. In an address to his fellow “completers” at the Saint Louis High School – Philex (SLHS – Philex), inside the Padcal mine camp of Philex Mining Corp., in Itogon town’s Brgy. Ampucao, on Friday, June 7, Christian Arvie Doria enjoined them to be passionate of whatever they do and what they aspire to be.
“Being passionate about something is regretting less,” said Doria, who finished Grade X at the top among his batch of 136 “completers,” the term used for high school students who are done with their four years of junior high school and before they move through to the senior level comprising Grades XI and XII. “Truth is, the things we regret the most are the things we didn’t do rather than the things we did. Passion drives you toward many roads. It makes you do things you think you cannot do. It makes you hunger for something. It makes you push your limits or the limits set by the world.”
He admonished them, however: “But too much of it would be self-destruction. A bad case of passion would be making a black hole inside of yourself, a world in constant search for satisfaction. What I’m trying to say is, ‘Have passion with caution!’ ”
Leading the six other honors students, two of whom were likewise adjudged “Best” in Mathematics and in Filipino, respectively, Doria and his batch made up the third set of completers at the SLHS – Philex, which is run by the Diocese of Baguio and funded by Philex Mining Corp., since the Department of Education (DepED) introduced the K-to-12 Basic Education Program nationwide. The program aims to put the Philippines in line with an international standard on the number of years one year of kindergarten, six years of primary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school that a student must complete his or her kindergarten, elementary, and high-school studies.
Advocating for good education to improve the lot of its beneficiaries has always been the hallmark of responsible and conscientious mining that Philex Mining has been practising for over six decades. “We’ve always championed quality education, reason why we have sent thousands of students to school in all levels of education through our scholarship program,” the company’s president and CEO, Eulalio Austin, Jr., said in an interview. “Even if we could only inspire students to aspire for whatever they want to become, we would be happy—our efforts would not be for naught.”
Last Wednesday, June 6, 193 pupils finished their primary studies at the Philex Mines Elementary School, also situated inside the mine camp in Tuba’s Brgy. Camp 3, while Monday, June 4, marked the graduation ceremonies of the school’s 163 pupils in the kindergarten.
In the 15 years to 2017, Philex Mining had spent P142.91 million for its scholarship program for students pursuing their primary, secondary, tertiary, or graduate studies, according to data provided by the Community Relations (ComRel) Dept., in Padcal, Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Benguet and its sole operating mine. While the allotted budget for the whole period totaled P125.38 million, the backlog projects completed amounted to P17.53 million.
Last year, Philex Mining awarded 30 new college scholarships to beneficiaries in the host and neighboring villages, bringing to at least 95 the total number of scholars for that academic year enrolled in various schools in Baguio City and Benguet, and nearby Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya.Other than the six old scholars who had failed to achieve the grade-weighted average required by the company and who then received a 75-percent financial assistance the rest of the scholars enjoyed free full tuition, a book allowance, and a monthly stipend.
It had set aside P14.4 million for its 2017 education program, including scholarships for college, high-school, and elementary students, as well as for those in the technical/vocational (TechVoc) courses; and education-related infrastructure and cultural activities.
For this year, Philex Mining has allotted P22.8 million, or P25.2 million including a carry-over of unspent fund amounting to P2.4 million, for its education program, which involves scholarship grants to 551 students 119 in college, 15 technical/vocational, and 212 and 205 in senior and junior high school, respectively; subsidized education for 170 high-school students and 250 elementary pupils; and assistance to 40 students through the special program for student-employment in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment.
The rest of the budget for the education program, according to ComRel, is for the enhancement of learning environment through the construction and improvement of 11 school buildings and facilities, the construction of two slope protection walls, the provision of learning equipment, as well as the support for various school activities.